COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – If this were a story about politics, depending on your political bent, invasive species might be considered by some to be either members of the Tea Party or President Obama and his White House staffers.
Carpe dieum on Asian Carp
But invasive species, as defined by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in an announcement from his office Wednesday, is about Asian Carp, zebra mussels and other living animals or plants that move into an area they are not indigenous to.
Mike DeWine, who was elected last fall along in the tidal wave of Republicans who reclaimed all of Ohio’s statewide offices, has joined other Great Lakes attorneys general in demanding that federal authorities take immediate action to develop a permanent barrier halting the spread of and damage caused by aquatic invasive species.
“Lake Erie, like so many Midwestern waterways, is especially susceptible to invasive species like Asian carp and zebra mussels,” DeWine said. “As a long-time advocate for the preservation of the Great Lakes and Ohio waterways, I know it is of vital importance that our region unites to stop the advancement of all invasive species.”
DeWine’s office said the coalition of Great Lakes attorneys general is requesting the federal government develop a permanent ecological separation at the conjunction of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins, which it said occurs at the Chicago Area Waterway System. A recent study commissioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified the canal as the major pathway for the spread of invasive species, DeWine’s media release said.
The Corps released a list of 40 aquatic invasive species with the highest risk of traveling through the waterway; 30 are high-risk to the Mississippi River Basin, and ten, including Asian carp, are high-risk to the Great Lakes Basin.
For purposes of clarification, invasive species are species of plants and animals not native to a particular habitat that, when introduced to new habitats, can cause extensive damage to the existing ecosystem. Many aquatic invasive species were brought to the Great Lakes in ocean water discharged by ships.
Federal help: we want it when we want it
The request by DeWine and other Great Lakes attorneys general serves as another example of states calling for federal help when their own resources are inadequate to do the job while simultaneously saying they want to keep Washington out of their affairs.
In the wake of destruction left by Hurricane Irene, which has caused some of the worse flooding and destruction in northeastern states, in some cases in their history, Democrats and Republicans are again engaged in a war of words and political philosophy over whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be given emergency funds to rebuild damaged parts of the nation, which have suffered 66 natural disasters just this year so far, or whether funding should be taken from one part of the federal budget and given to FEMA to carry out a job virtually everyone says is a proper and legitimate role for the federal government.
As a United States Senator, DeWine introduced both the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act and the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act to address invasive species attacking Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. Now, as Ohio Attorney General, DeWine is committing to continue preserving waterways and indigenous wildlife for the use and enjoyment of generations of future Ohioans.
“We must halt the progress of aquatic invasive species across this country, and I call on my fellow attorneys general to join in this important cause,” Attorney General DeWine said in closing.
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